The 11 best new metal songs you need to hear right now

Anette Olsen/Crossfaith/Judas Priest/Rotting Christ/Hand Of Kalliach
(Image credit: Press/James Hodges/Chantik Photography/Matthieu Gill)

SLAYYYYYYYYYYEUUUUUUURGH. Barely a fortnight since Kerry King finally unveiled his solo project and the thrash legends have announced they will reunite for Louder Than Life later this year. 

But, you're not here for that - so let's talk new music! First up, the results of last week's vote. It turns out reunions are big business as nu metal veterans Kitty took top prize by a good way with the brilliant Eyes Wide Open, while Sheffield's own While She Sleeps brought in a very admirable second place with To The Flowers. It was a tight battle for third however, as Grammy-winning stoners High On Fire duked it out with Metal Queen Doro, both ending up level to share the podium. 

We've hunted high and low this week to find you the very best new music around, be it the wailing latest effort from Judas Priest, a return from former-Nightwish singer Anette Olzon or utterly furious filth from the likes of Couch Slut and Kaoteon. There's also new Alcest, Crossfaith, Rotting Christ... basically, fill your boots on whatever brand of extremity most floats your boat. 

As ever, we need your help to decide which songs are the most exciting, so don't forget to cast your vote below - and have a fantastic weekend. Happy listening! 

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Judas Priest - The Serpent And The King

There's more than a hint of the urgency and shrieking power of Painkiller to Judas Priest's latest single, The Serpent And The King. 50 years on from their debut album and Halford still has the kind of voice that leaves no mystery on how he became the Metal God, the rest of the band blasting out thrash-adjacent classic metal with massive hooks and sublime guitar solos. New album, new tour... same old excellence from Judas Priest. 

Annette Olzon - Heed The Call

With a lengthy seven-year gap between her solo debut and 2021's Strong, it's fair to say former Nightwish vocalist Anette Olzon prefers to take her time when it comes to new material. But when the results are as good as Heed The Call, it's not something you question, a massive fist-pumping anthem proving the perfect introduction to Olzon's upcoming new album Rapture, due May 10. If you love symphonic metal with plenty of thrust and heaviness, you'll want to be all over this one. 

Apocalyptica - The Four Horsemen

From one brand of symphonic metal to another branch entirely, it's been 28 years since Apocalyptica first stunned the world with their classical iterations of Metallica. But, much as Metallica themselves did S&M2 in 2019, the Finns have decided to have a second crack at the form with Apocalyptica Plays Metallica Vol. 2 and a massive tour that will see them appear at London's Royal Albert Hall in September. So what better way to kick off the album campaign than with a powerful rendition of The Four Horsemen, featuring Met bassist Robert Trujillo no less. 

Alcest - L'Envol

Pioneers of blackgaze, Alcest's sonic fingerprint can be found everywhere from Svalbard to MØL and beyond in modern post-black metal. Keen not to be left behind, the French band's latest offering L'Envol is a gorgeous display of tone and swooping melodies that shows just how tonally wonderful the genre they helped spawn. Taken from upcoming album Les Chants De L'Aurore, L'Envol remains remarkably clean so that once the black metal elements do appear they make a serious impact, like crashing waves that completely body the listener. 

Crossfaith - Zero

Six years since their last album, Crossfaith have made a triumphant return with the venomous Zero. Built on chomping riffs, massive gang howls and a sense of frenzied energy, the Japanese band's latest effort is a bold announcement of Crossfaith's second coming. No word on a new album just yet, but if the rest of their new material is this good, we'll be keeping our eyes out. 

Rotting Christ - Like Father, Like Son

Over 30 years on since the release of their debut Thy Mighty Contract, Rotting Christ sound every bit the extreme metal veterans on new single Like Father, Like Son. The band have always had an iron grip on epic, slow-burn compositions that build to something truly towering and that is the heart and soul of this latest single, a stomping pace and wailing guitars lending an almost Celtic or Nordic folk tinge to the song's melody while Sakis Tolis issues vocals like an angry god from the heavens. New album Pro Xristou is due on May 24 and we expect greatness, judging from this first single. 

Kati Rán - Stone Pillars

Nordic folk's intersection with the metal world is well-documented - just look at Heilung and Wardruna, for starters - but Kati Rán's latest single Stone Pillars goes one further, drafting in fellow folkster - and former black metal terror - Gaahl and Mitch Harris of Napalm Death. Rán isn't suddenly departing folk for extreme metal however; Stone Pillars is a meditative, soulful showcase of her dark sensibilities; think Chelsea Wolfe is she loved Vikings more than witches. 

Couch Slut - Ode To Jimbo

Fizzing with vitirol and drawn along sluggish, feedback-drenched noise-sludge, Couch Slut come back to seething, furious life on new single Ode To Jimbo. Taken from the band's upcoming fourth album You Could Do It Tonight - due for release April 19, when the band will also perform the record in full at Roadburn Festival, their first European show. If you like your music so vicious and skin-crawlingly abrasive that it makes you want to douse yourself in bleach, Couch Slut are the band for you, Ode To Jimbo rattling and wailing with abject horror that makes most extreme metal bands sound like Coldplay. 

Kaoteon - Death Trap

Starting out as a moody ballad in the vein of Black Album era Metallica, it isn't long before Kaoteon give way to their furious brand of blackened death metal. Elegant strings weave in and out of punchy, galloping riffs and beats in a mesmerising composition that shows just how far the band's craft has evolved and while mastermind Anthony is no longer based in Lebanon, the spectre of global conflict looms large on a song that seethes at mass injustice. 

Hand Of Kalliach - Cirein-Cróin

Exploring Scottish mythology through a stunning mixture of ethereal folk and powerful, blustering melodeath, Hand Of Kalliach offer a stunning dichotomy that is galvanising to behold. Named for a colossal shapeshifting seaserpent from Scottish folklore, Cirein-Cróin is in its own way a shapeshifting beast, switching from an all-out gallop to sublime, floating melodies that bewitch. With new album Corryvreckan out now, make sure you check this lot out.  

Andry - Skies

Trad metal might have slipped out of favour at the start of the 90s, but the combined efforts of bands ranging from Hammerfall and Sabaton to Lovebites and Beast In Black has yielded a delightful resurgence in recent years. Which brings us to Andry, a former contestant on The Voice in Greece who has now embarked on her own journey of bombastic, wonderfully cheesy power metal with Skies. The title-track of her solo debut - due March 6 - Skies is a pedal-to-the-metal banger with eyes on massive, fist-pumping sing-alongs - and who are we to deny her? 

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Rich Hobson

Staff writer for Metal Hammer, Rich has never met a feature he didn't fancy, which is just as well when it comes to covering everything rock, punk and metal for both print and online, be it legendary events like Rock In Rio or Clash Of The Titans or seeking out exciting new bands like Nine Treasures, Jinjer and Sleep Token.